Let’s be honest, running is a sport that you either love with a passion or its something that you do in order to get ready for some other sport. I fall in the latter category. Growing up I played soccer, tennis, baseball, basketball, and skied which all required me to run or jog in order to get in shape. Since I liked those sports, I ran only because it prepared me for game time. Without those sports in my life I’m guessing that I would have never gone for a run just for the sake of running.
Running was fueling my childhood dreams, I just didn’t realize it at the time. Despite my dream of growing up to be a multi-sport superstar, there comes a time in ones life where their ego and athletic ability meet and you realize that you won’t be the first ever professional soccer, tennis, baseball, and basketball player. For me this time came shortly after high school graduation. Running to prepare for game time switched to running to prepare for class and homework. It was a great way to wake up in the mornings and be mentally alert for class while getting me in shape for ski season which was my sport. Still, running was something I did to prepare for skiing and class, it was not something I put a lot of thought and effort into.
As I got more into skiing I needed more sports in the summer in order to pass the time until the snow fell again. Enter rock climbing into my life. Being solidly over the 6 foot tall mark I certainly wasn’t a typical sized rock climber. Running turned into a great way to keep the weight off in order to make climbing easier for me since I was so tall. Also, I’ve never had any upper body strength no matter how hard I hit the weights (I have the wing span of a large bald eagle), but leg strength has never been a problem and running only made my legs stronger. I did start taking running a little more seriously at this point but that just meant that I bought running specific shoes instead of just shoes. I lived to ski again, not to add another mile to my running routes.
All of this came to an unexpected abrupt end when I fell rock climbing. Running was not even a consideration afterwards. Getting back on my mountain bike and making my way into road biking became my new summer sports. These sports were easier on the body and my now destroyed joints along with being a quick and easy way to keep the weight off. The idea of running to prepare for class or work held no interest for me anymore. Maybe all the surgeries I had after the fall messed up the running neuron in my brain, I don’t know. All I know was it was time to try other sports.
Fast forward about 8 years later to a sunny and warm Tuesday in June 2013. Ok, it was last Tuesday. Thanks to a suggestion from a friend, I’ve become a huge fan of ASIC running shoes. They seem to absorb a lot of pressure which in turn makes my Osteoarthritic/Gout ridden body feel better. So with new confidence in my running shoes and feeling energized by switching most of my food intake to organic, I went to near by middle school and tried to run a mile on their track. All told I figured I ran about 3.5 laps and walked the other .5 laps to get to a mile (that might be a favorable estimate on my part but I’m sticking with it). Despite either coughing up blood or track dust, not sure which, I felt surprisingly good. So good in fact that I tried again on Friday night (Friday was more of a 3 laps running, 1 lap walking to get to a mile).
In the interest of being honest with you the reader I will admit that I was hating life yesterday. My knees DID NOT want to move at all. Surprisingly, my resurfaced left hip felt pretty good (surgeon put a no running ever again restriction on me after that operation, OOOOOOPYs don’t tell on me please). My neck was hurting bad too, so bad that I’m still working on a headache that started yesterday evening. Here is the surprising part though, I’m already looking forward to running this week. I even went to watch a Ironman race yesterday so I could learn from the professionals how to run. Strange considering I’ve never considered myself a runner.
While watching the technique of the professionals, I realized just how little I knew about running. Instead of feeling embarrassed or stupid about knowing very little about something that most people take for granted, I found myself to be intrigued. Yes intrigued, I’m just as surprised as you are!
Now, after some consideration I think I have figured out why I’m intrigued by my lack of knowledge about running. Its because being intrigued about something (can be about anything really) is a key component in fighting Arthur. We all know that arthritis causes us to work harder than most at the simple tasks in life, but we don’t realize that life is about finding new adventures, sports, trips, love, friendship, tasks, chocolate, or work all of which requires us to be intrigued by the unknown. In my head anyway, being intrigued means living life to its most extreme. Without it, we settle for just the bare minimum of life in order to just get by. Arthur wants us to settle, I however don’t want to settle for just the bare minimum in life. That is no fun!
Right now I have no idea how long my interest in trying to learn how to run correctly will last. Ideally, I would love to be able to get to the point where I could run continually 2 to 3 miles at a time so I could try and play indoor soccer this fall. I’m not making that a goal yet because I know that I will have set backs as I get started which will only cause frustration when the dream of playing soccer again gets pushed back even farther. My only goal is to become a sponge and learn as much as I can and see where that takes me. Using running as a metaphor for life, I figure that by trying to take up the sport seriously means I still have fight left that the pain hasn’t beat out of me, nor ever will!